2021 Match Reports
Pyestock CC 6th June 2021 Home - Lost
The players: J.Harding, T.Hutchins, R.Boote, S.Berryman, T.Edwards, R.Hill, L.Harding,
M.Gale, T.Nokes, P.Abbot, M.Hill
The cover to the Bentworth baptismal font was gifted by Martha Hunt in 1605 and one wonders what events she foresaw when placing a ‘cricket ball’ at its apex. She and her husband were well connected, so would have attended the performances of William Shakespeare’s plays, Macbeth and King Lear in that year………
When shall we four meet again? In thunder, lightning or in rain?
As I toodle my way down toward Bentworth on this brooding, overcast day, I allow the fears of every cricketer to creep into my consciousness…Will the weather hold? Might we get a full day’s uninterrupted play? Oh please God yes, for my first match of the season! The only sun to be found at midday is at our favourite inn, but at least there are four to enjoy over a pint of Estrella– the three smiling signs outside and Daisy’s sunny disposition to greet me at the bar! I sit outside, bravely withstanding the cool breeze and, even more courageously, displaying the new Vags t-shirt, ignoring the sticky, sweaty sensation of the iron-on sticker against my aroused nipples. The good-humoured arrival of Boots, Tommy and Stevie and another pint provide ample distraction.
Two teams, both alike in status, in fair Bentworth where we lay our scene
And so to our beautiful ground and the joyful appreciation of natural banter and honest opportunity to catch up with friends old and new! Boots meantime loses the toss and invites in portents of misfortune that so niggle at the superstitious spirit of the cricketer: “We win more often when we field first”, “We’re better at chasing runs than putting up a big score”…all ridiculous fantasy based on a modicum of truth that gets elevated to fact and unerring belief! He says he probably would have chosen to bat, looking at the wicket. We swallow the pill of optimism. The opening bowler is young and athletic with a useful-looking action but doesn’t seem to trouble Jimmy or Trius, both carefully playing themselves in. The second bowler lumbers in with less venom and three maidens pass by before a boundary is finally scored.
A run! A run! My kingdom for a run!
Then Trius falls for the Botham-esque trickery of a long hop from their opener, mistimes his forward lunge and the ball loops lazily to mid-on. Boots saunters in ready to blast his way to another century; three boundaries confirm his intent, but soon after the opener repeats his ‘beefy’-like tactic and it’s an ‘action-replay’ of Trius’s dismissal including a perfect imitation of the downcast body language, the disappointed glance at the sky, followed by the straight stare at the ground on the painful journey back to the clubhouse, pursued by quietly muttered condolences from sympathetic team mates. No need to panic, we have a strong team on paper with plenty of batting to come. Stevie B is another great ‘accumulator’, even though he has had a recent poor run of luck. Today could be his day though!
It isn’t. He and Jimmy are caught behind and an air of disquiet percolates in the background, lifted partially by Trev’s energetic batting and boundaries, only to be re-cemented by Richie’s duck! The omens are looking bad 19-2…19-3…23-4…for a brief moment the negativity is reversed as Lukey fires off a couple of boundaries… before he too is caught.
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so
This, coincidentally, brings on ‘Cementos’, a mite early in the proceedings – due in at number 10 but, anticipating the worst, he’s already sitting on a bench padded up, holding back nervous wee from warming his pouch – as Tommy’s lethargy and cat-like stretching routine has found him out, pad-less.
Ah, the pathology of cricket. Cementos tentatively accustoms himself to life in the batting crease – well, for the first 3 overs, just to life in the “bowling crease” – as Trev cleverly engineers keeping the strike. Then at last he must face his demons and battle with indecision and impetuosity as the first balls are launched. Only to find that the bowling is innocuous, that everyone has indeed just been getting themselves out, that actually this could be fun! Apprehension swiftly flips into over-exuberance and Trev is having to coach him out of barking unclear calls such as…”GO!…GO!…GO!” or “One, just one, JUST ONE!”….
His mantra? “There are only three calls to use, Mikey – Yes, No, or Wait – got it?”
Cementos eats humble pie while Trev moves on to other prey as he admonishes the opposition slip catcher for rudely keeping up a constant commentary during ball deliveries. Despite these annoyances he admirably continues to keep the scoreboard busy until finally he trundles off after a useful 23.
But 74-7 is still not much to shout about. Tommy has by now got himself together and contributes a further elegant 17 – excepting the one huge “air swat” that almost wrenches his shoulder in an effort to complete a 360 degree heave…there’s a loud appeal for caught behind before someone realises that the click they heard was his shoulder taking a short break from the shackles of his socket. Meanwhile Cementos plays runless anchor at the other end before they are both gone and it is left to Paulie and Maximus Decimus Meridius to becalm the troubled waters of our sinking ship. Paulie spends the next half hour adopting memorable poses of Henry Moore-like sculptures or paralysed stick insects, remaining motionless as ball after ball loops over his reducing frame, leaving the bowlers mystified by his zen. Meantime Max embodies the destiny of humanity, displacing his father’s failure by catapulting the paternal genes into his own cultivated batting performance, carrying his bat for 33! Paulie’s steadfast game of Grandma’s statues is finally exposed by a straight bowl at the wicket………and we are 140 all out…at least something to bowl at!
If cricket be the food of love, play on!
Oh what happiness, the doom-laden weather forecast has been smashed and our scorn for the vagaries of the English climate rewarded with a virtual drought, blue skies and sunshine! Private teas have been scoffed and Max has opened the bowling with an outrageous display of fine seam and swing bowling. At the other end, Cementos has been surprised into yet another early debut…Boots has divined something nobody can anticipate…unadulterated luck!
The lady doth protest too much, methinks!
In the second ball of his over, Cementos cannot believe his eyes, neither can Jimmy at the other end as he shouts “Jaffa”! The off stump rocks slightly, a bail hits the ground, their opening bat is bowled. All the world becomes a stage for a Colombian celebration that requires Trius’s composure to settle down. Max soon follows suit and then lo and behold their number 3 bat, having boshed a few boundaries, reaches unlucky 13 and skies one so high that 10 of us have a chat while queuing to catch it….only to be scattered away by the repeated, unadulterated screaming of: “mine, mine, MINE!, MINE!!” …from Trev no less, once more clearly making his call! And so our joy is turning toward hope. Max bowls another beauty and their number 5 takes a walk….
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate
Is there anything more delicious and awesome on a summer’s day than the sight of two spinners at either end plying their trade so sweetly and expertly as Lukey and Tommo?! What a great combination! The odd boundary is a happy price to pay as Lukey puzzles their batsmen constantly and Tom holds his end up really well with an accurate, consistent length…if you see what I mean. He is unlucky not to strike. Lukey takes out their highest scorer (33) with an LBW that leaves the batsman disconsolately bemused, and then Boots weighs in with a few overs too and ably removes their captain, the second highest scorer (27).
The course of any match never did run smooth
Runs continue to trickle though. Richie comes on for a spell but perhaps his son has taken all his luck! Boots and Trius work hard on setting the fielding, impressed by Paulie’s new-found mobility, interpreting and directing different positions for the clueless Cementos, and moving Stevie around like a reluctant chess piece a few paces here and there. But the opposition continue to eke out the runs and suddenly the total begins to look as weak as reality demands we accept.
Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them…
But let the final praise and comment go to ‘our’ man of the match – Maximus Hill no less! On for a second spell he continued to bowl beautifully, lifting our hopes and our spirits one last time by removing their number 8 bat, before we succumbed. Most runs (33) and most wickets (3). What more could one ask for? And what a talent to revel in while he is around to share them with us!
Are you sure that we are awake? It seems to me that yet we sleep, we dream….
And so the day ended, with disappointment, yet filled also with the bonhomie and competitiveness that is the Vags trademark. What a joy to be back at the ground and at the Sun, deep in banter and conversation with clubmates not seen since Trump cancelled talks with the Taliban, sacked his third national security adviser and Rafa was winning the US Open for the fourth time….
Nice, really nice…to just drink a pleasant pint or two and let off steam…..quite appropriate considering our opposition: Pyestock CC – originally started and sponsored in 1947 by the National Gas Turbine Establishment!
Oh…go one then…one last quote…No WAIT!…OK YES!…No, no WAIT…ok GO, GO, GO!!!!
How oft when men are at the point of death, have they been merry!
Which their wicket keepers call a lightning before death……ahhh
To be out or not to be out? That is always the question!
Newport Inn CC 9th May 2021 Home - Won
As the Jegg-mobile sped through the Hampshire countryside at 11.57 am on Sunday, Skips and Jeggs were observing a moments silence alongside the radio in memory of the footballer Alan Mcloughlin. This quiet moment of remembrance was shattered when Jeggs exclaimed “Oh cripes! Golly what a fool that driver is” as a car and a trailer veered across the road in front of us, or words to that effect at least. This unexpected brush with death and reminder of our own mortality made us reconsider what we thought was important to us. We sacked off our planned trip Longleat Safari park and decided we should go to the pub and play some cricket. 5 minutes later we were sat outside The Sun basking in the warm air, looking forward to getting the match underway on time a short while later.
Our opposition for the day were the gentlemen of Newport Inn Cricket Club. A distinguished looking bunch of chaps who were waiting for us at the ground when we arrived for the toss. Out strolled the two skippers, one (I forget who) carrying a pint out with him.
Due to Chair’s involvement we started the match ten minutes late as he strolled out to open the batting with Trius. After getting off to a solid start Chair was unlucky to be caught a bowled off of a shot that almost broke the sound barrier. The look of amazement on the bowlers face maybe showing how unfortunate Mr Harding was. In strode Skip, without a pint glass but with a steely look of determination in his eyes. The kind of look that could fry a cat at fifty paces. Whilst Trius was playing nicely, the hard hitting from our leader brought about a 49 ball fifty. Not too long after Trius joined in with a half century of his own before being stumped for 77. Skip was joined by Steve Berryman as he pushed on to a 79 ball ton. The final runs coming from a huge 6 over the road end. After this Skip retired on 105, to mutters of “about bloody time” from the fielders. Trev joined Steve out there for a few overs before the Vagabonds were called back in. A total of 250 – 2 (declared) off of 36 overs. Quite a remarkable performance.
R Boote 105 (retired)
T Hutchins 77
S Berryman 30
Tea was what whatever people and made for themselves and some cider.
When the Vags strode out onto the field of greatness they knew a first victory of the season was within their gnarled grasped. Stevie Hyde opened from the road end, it was thought best to keep him occupied in case he decided to slowly meander closer to the horses in the adjacent paddock. Si Allen took the Trevor Edwards Memorial Fence end and the run rate was kept low. Very low. Newport reached double digits in the 7th over due to some lovely bowling and oddly energetic fielding. Tom Nokes took over and soon bowled their handy number 2. Luke Harding twirled his arms for the first time in 18 months and soon enough a remarkable milestone was reached. His 300th Vagabond wicket, sensational stuff! Whilst runs were not an issue, wickets were. With 16 overs left we still needed to get 6 out. A final throw of the tactical dice from Skip and Jeggs was added to the attack. It went better than last time. Skip then put himself into the fray and mopped up the tail. Skip’s final figures for the day of 105 (retired) and 4 wickets for 4 runs is truly one of the great Vags performances. The final 6 batsmen added a combined total of 2 runs, and Newport were all out for 119 with 5 overs remaining (73 of these runs came from their opener). Great stuff!
R Boote 4 – 1 – 4 – 4
L Harding 10 – 3 – 17 – 3
R Hyndman 2 – 0 – 11 – 2
Many beers were had, the opposition joining us in the pub for a jolly good time and toasting Lukes fantastic achievement.
As the Jegg-mobile drove back through the Hampshire countryside the two occupants took another moment of silence to contemplate the day’s events. It had been most enjoyable they decided and it would be best to do it again soon. Longleat would just have to wait.
Steve Berryman goes large
Broadhalfpenny Down CC 4th May 2021 Away - Drawn
How I’ve missed cricket. Earlier on in the week just gone, I’d plonked myself down on the sofa and enjoyed some of Amazon’s “The Test”. Favourite parts from the first couple of episodes include but are not limited to: (1) England spanking Australia in an ODI series, and, (2) infamous hard man, David Warner, blubbering through an apology about how he’d abused the baggy green. For those also lining Bezos’ pockets, I’d thoroughly recommend the documentary.
Sunday started so well. I joined Jeggs in the Hydester-mobile for the drive down. We laughed heartily as we remembered a previous encounter against this opposition during which Al Whitman’s mushroom bites were taken advantage of. As we swung into the car park, even more familiar, smiling faces were seen. Ales were enjoyed from Skip Boote’s car boot as layers upon layers were packed on by chilly Vags – the wind doing no one any good. Steve Berryman had forgotten that Broad Halfpenny Down wasn’t Dubai, dressed in chino shorts and flip flops. Poor choice Sir.
Skip won the toss and chose to field – the theory (I think) that the wind would only get worse and those not batting could be wrapped up by during the coldest part of the afternoon.
Mr Charlie Preston, after a couple of sighters, took the opening wicket in his opening over. Jay went for no score, caught well by Tweaker. Whilst Chazzer came running down the hill, Stevie H came up it, into the wind and bowled with laser like accuracy and subdued aplomb. Such good bowling deserved a reward. In the 6th over, with a scores at 11/1 a Hyde delivery was slapped low and hard to me at mid on. I, despite getting two hands to it, did not take this chance, leading me to wonder if my lift back to The Big Smoke was guaranteed come 7pm. My error aside, Vags CC fielded really well. The two Toms (Humphrey & Postle) stand out in my mind in particular – both putting their bodies on the line for the cause. A special mention also to James “Chair” Harding, whose wicket keeping rendition of ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes’, not only bought smiles to faces, but kept the run rate down.
Rich Hill came on to bowl, replacing Stevie, and bowled some nice spin. Those not playing won’t be surprised to hear he picked up two wickets. One was very useful indeed. Brigands’ number 4, Waktore, was timing the ball beautifully and had sent a few shots crashing to the fence. However, he was removed, caught by Trius for 24. Hill Snr. unfortunately had to stop bowling mid-over, due to a shoulder injury and the ball was thrown to me. “Just finish off the over please Rik” a simple instruction from Skip, which surely would be followed to the letter. What could go wrong?
In hindsight, a stretch, a couple of practice balls, looking at the pitch, remembering that I am in fact in control of my own limbs, anything preparatory in any way would have been sensible bearing in mind I hadn’t played cricket for around two years. I decided against all of the aforementioned however, and chucked the ball a yard down the off side for a wide. Followed by another. And another. I over adjusted and bowled one down the leg side next. “Good variation Rik” came from someone – I can’t remember (and don’t want to know) who. I ended up bowling a 10 (ten) ball over. Not bad you say? Well, you’d be wrong. Please remember that I was “just finishing off the over” and only needed two legal deliveries.
Skip and Tweaker came on to bowl spin at either end, and attempt to claw the game back, as Brigands’ debuting number 5, Luderburg, began knocking it around the park with gusto. Humphrey’s bowled superbly, taking two nice wickets. “The trick is to not let it spin on some occasions – just to confuse them” T. Humphrey’s chuckled as a full bunger bowled their number 7, Northwood. Brigands took the interesting decision to declare with one over to go, as they notched up 207/7.
D. Luderburg 80*
A. Ainsley 28
C. Preston 11 – 0 – 47 – 3
S. Hyde 5 – 1 – 15 – 0
R. Hill 3.4 – 0 – 32 – 2
A. Waller-Davies 3.2 – 0 – 31 – 0
R. Boote 5 – 0 – 38 – 0
T. Humphrey 8 – 0 – 40 – 2
‘Bring your own tea’ and beers were enjoyed with Stevie Hyde doing his best Ted Hastings “Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the wee donkey” impression and Trius pondering life’s big questions with Jess, his dog – “hmmm, do I eat another pork pie or will I be too full? What do we think Jess?”.
The Vags needing approximately 5 an over and started solidly, getting to around the 40 mark with Chair the only batsman out, a mistimed shot caught off the bowling of Wood.
A couple of quick wickets meant that Steve B and Tom Postle were suddenly in the middle for the Vags. They both hunkered down and batted brilliantly, keeping the win within reach and lower order batsmen (and lesser mortals) back in the shed.
Eventually, the spell was broken with Stevey B the man to depart for a solid 35. Tom kept going however, with several others joining him in the middle with varying success. Chazzer P made a go of it, hammering a few wayward deliveries around, before being bowled off the bowling of Preach. Tom eventually collected his thoroughly deserved half century with a lovely shot to the boundary for four.
I came in and managed to do with my batting what I couldn’t begin to do with my bowling – string together a few dot balls (14 to be precise) and ensure we held on for a second draw of the season.
T. Postle 56*
S. Berryman 35
Those eagle-eyed readers amongst you will wonder why Jeggs hasn’t featured in the playing of this cricket match but was amongst the passengers heading down from London. 6 hours’ worth of scoring in freezing, blustery conditions – all for Vagabonds CC. Three cheers for Jeggs, hip hip….
Incident Report logged 5 May 2021 by DCI Rik Waller-Buckles
United Oxford Hospitals CC 25 April 2021 Home - Drawn
The long dark night is over, a new dawn is upon us. 2020, much like the 2013 ashes, are a period best forgotten. But we have come through them a little wiser, a little wider, but thankfully for the Vags mostly unscathed.
Our first match this season was against University Oxford Hospitals. The majority of the Vags met at the Sun (lovely to be back) for a few catch up beers. Chair was a late drop out, he claimed it was due to feeling unwell but it was determined it was due to a lack of youngsters in the opposition for him to stump.
Due to Chair not playing, we actually got the match underway early. Skip lost the toss so we were put into Bat. Steve Berryman and Trius (looking good with his 80s German mullet poking out of the bottom of his helmet) strode out to face the first balls of the season. The rest of us admired the views on this lovely April day. The green Hampshire hills rolling downwards towards the weald, four young horses frolicking in a nearby field. The mood was somewhat ruined when Stevie Hyde referred to them as “naughty little teases”. He was promptly sent out to umpire as punishment for his immoral thoughts.
Mr Berryman, who for various other teams this season has had two ducks in a row, was anxious to get off the mark. SO anxious in fact that he Had Trius run out. As a somewhat despondent ironmonger trudged off the field he was called back as the keeper did not have the ball when he broke the stumps. The crowd went wild at this turn of events. Except for Jeggs who was doing the scoring and had to find a rubber.
Steve hung around for a while before being bowled by their handy opener from the road end. In stalked Skip like a lion with his eyes on a young Gazelle. After a huge six into the opposite field, he did not hit another run for 20 balls. Overs 6 through 13 were, stoic. With a few new bowlers however the run rate increased and Skip eventually reached his fifty and with some more huge heaves he was well on his way to his first century of the season.
Whilst Skip was busy going about being good at cricket, on the sidelines we were regaled by Trev’s Circa 1978 Bernard Manning stand-up routine. Have started off with “you probably can’t say this anymore”, what followed were several phrases which make even the most ardent Daily Mail comment section contributor blush. This coupled with Nokes (both Snr & Jnr) putting on an extremely witty double act, it made for a most entertaining 3 and half hours of scoring…
Having reached his ton, Skip was promptly bowled. This brought in Mr Postle who, whilst Trius got a very solid half, was bowled for 24 on the last ball of the innings. 217 seemed about par, but a commendable total.
Mr Boote 100
Mr Hutchins 63*
Mr Postle 24
Tea saw everyone dig into their own Sarnies and a special presentation was made. Our esteemed founder Barrie was presented with his own special chair, to both honor and thank him for everything he has done. Without him, none of us would be there. Photos available on the news section of our website!
Charlie Preston opened the bowling from the Trevor Edwards memorial fence end and after struggling a little initially found some lovely lines and pace and we got our first wicket! Stevie Hyde bowled nicely from the road end, despite the distraction of horses in his sight line, and we made a decent start at restricting them to not many runs. The first change brought in Mr Edwards and Mr Nokes (Jnr). A couple more wickets fell before Skip made one of the biggest tactical decisions of his life: Jeggs was added to the attack. It didn’t work out.
We couldn’t quite get them all out, but neither could they get the runs so a draw was had. UHOCC ended 207 – 6.
Mr Preston 2 – 62
Mr Nokes Jnr 2 – 57
Mr Bootes 1 – 15
Mr Edwards 1 – 19
A very solid start to the season and given the lack of any pre-season training a most commendable performance. The opposition joined us for some celebratory beers in The Sun and a spiffing time was had by all!
Until next week,